WANDERERS are facing a defensive crisis ahead of tomorrow's visit of Rochdale - which boss Paul Lambert describes as being just as important as Wednesday's Carling Cup semi-final against Chelsea.

Mike Williamson is suspended after totting up five bookings and his central defensive partner Will Antwi is struggling with a groin injury.

Antwi went off at half time during the New Year's Day 0-0 draw with Hereford and is facing a race against time to be fit.

Fellow defender Sam Stockley is still a major doubt with a hamstring injury leaving Blues without any fit centre halves.

They had hoped to plug the gap with the capture of Chelsea's England youth international centre half Adrian Pettigrew.

The Hackney-born 20-year-old hot prospect told the East London Advertiser: "Things are going great for me at Chelsea and I've been playing regularly for the reserves but I'm about to go on loan to Wycombe.

"I'm going there in January and I'll stay until the end of the season. I'm really looking forward to the chance of getting some first-team football under my belt. I'm really excited about the whole experience."

But the move looks likely to be held up because Pettigrew, who has captained Chelsea's reserves on several occasions, has picked up an injury.

With his move looking set to be delayed, youngster Lewis Christon is on standby to make his first league start with on loan Aston Villa defender Stephen O'Halloran set to fill in as the other centre back, having extended his loan spell until January 20.

But there is some good news with Fulham's on loan Portugal U21 keeper Ricardo Batista, who starred for Blues in the first half of the season, looking likely to be back between the sticks.

Fulham allowed him to return on loan until the end of the season and he starred in Saturday's 0-0 draw against Hereford. But immediately after the game, Wycombe feared he'd be going straight back to Craven Cottage to cover for Anti Niemi who was injured on Saturday. But the call has not come, to the relief of Lambert.

Wanderers also have doubts about midfield maestro Stefan Oakes. He missed yesterday's Carling Cup semi-final press conference through illness and is touch and go to recover for tomorrow.

But Wanderers can call upon midfield scrapper Tommy Doherty. He's re-signed on loan from QPR until the end of the season.

The Doc spent three months at Adams Park before Christmas and Lambert wasted no time hiring the former Northern Ireland international again.

He said: "It's good to have him back because he did great when he was here before."

Doherty made 11 starts and was sent off twice during his previous loan spell before Christmas but Lambert insists the positives far outweigh the negatives with the fiery 27-year-old.

Blues' squad for tomorrow will also include striker Fola Onibuje and Tony McParland who joined on loan from Swindon and Barnsley respectively on New Year's Day with a view to permanent deals.

Giant striker Onibuje and former Celtic youngster McParland made their debuts in the 0-0 draw against Hereford and Lambert says there is more to come from the duo.